The Eyes of the Heart
The Eyes of the Heart (Ephesians 1:15-19)
How do we know what we know? Some things we know by the perception and observation of our five senses. Other things we know by our rational, mental capacity without any observation. Still other things we know only by experiencing them. Philosophers call these three ways of knowing empiricism, rationalism, and existentialism. In today's text, Paul introduces us to a different way of knowing—seeing with the eyes of the heart. This is a way of knowing accessible only to the Spirit-indwelt and the Spirit-filled believer. The illumined "eyes of the heart" see things the world outside cannot even imagine, much less know. What are these things?
Only the Eyes of the Heart Perceive Christian Knowledge
Paul prays that the Father of glory will give the Christian three distinctive elements of Christian knowledge. The source of this knowledge is none other than the all-glorious Father. The glory of God in the Old Testament corresponds to the luminous splendor of His presence. This light-like presence of God illuminates the heart of men with three gracious gifts of Christian knowledge.
The spirit of wisdom results from that operation wherein God's Spirit creates a new human spirit or capacity of perception. Available to the believer is a deep discernment of the basic nature of things as they are. Knowledge without wisdom is a menace. Wisdom coordinates knowledge and sees into the very heart of things. Revelation refers to that unexpected unveiling of divine truth that takes place in the gospel. Man would have never dreamed that God was like the Father of Jesus Christ, unless God removed the veil and illumined the heart. Knowledge refers to full, deep, and real knowledge as distinguished from awareness or superficial acquaintance. It is the knowledge of participation and experience rather than mere observation. These gifts of wisdom, revelation, and knowledge are perceived only with the eyes of the heart.
Only the Eyes of the Heart Detect Christian Experience
The object of Christian hope is visible only to the eyes of the heart. Hope, as it is used here, does not refer to the subjective emotion or feeling of hope. Rather, it refers to the object and goal of Christian living. It is "the hope deposited in heaven" (Col. 1:5). Christian hope is never merely within us; it lies before us. While our inward hope may flag into despair, the great Object of our hope never varies. He is always before us. Only the eyes of the heart can fasten on this hope, like an instrument of navigation fastens to the polar star.
The church, as God's inheritance, is visible only to the eyes of the heart. The unregenerate, lost world sees the church only as another organization, building, an institution. The eyes of the heart see the church as God's inheritance, His estate, His heritage. Only the inward vision of the Christian can perceive what it means. For God to see His plan of the ages worked out in the redemption of sinners who reflect His own glory will be His inheritance. The darkened intellect cannot even imagine that, much less see it.
Only the Eyes of the Heart Comprehend God's Power
Paul exhausts his native Greek tongue to describe the power demonstrated in the gospel. In one verse, he uses virtually every Greek word for power. He successively uses words for inherent power, power expressing itself in overcoming resistance, and the actual demonstration of power. For the Christian, this massive accumulation is available in "exceeding greatness" (v. 19, KJV). But only the eyes of the heart can see this power. To the lost and blinded humanity outside Christ, the Christian life individually, and the church collectively, bespeak only of weakness and ineffectiveness. Only in the experience of the Holy Spirit through which the eyes of the heart are opened does the power of Christ become visible. Can you see it? Open the eyes of your heart! "Except a man be born again he cannot see . . . " (John 3:3, KJV).